This year's winter retreat was in Savannah, Georgia. We chose to retreat in Savannah because of it's rich history, warm weather, and southern hospitality. Before beginning our retreat, mentors and mentees first participated in community service at The Door of Hope Christian Church where they organized and sealed holiday cards.
Our first stop in Savannah was the City Market. The City Market is at the heart of Savannah's historic district and features many unique shops, specialty eateries, performing musicians, and art galleries featuring local works.
Savannah has a host of southern eateries but the unanimous dining choice was Sisters of The New South. Denita, an employee of 7 years at Sisters, was so gracious as to tell us the rich history of the popular soul food eatery. Sisters was founded by 8 sisters and 2 brothers as a small soul food resturant that has now expanded into a franchise that includes two Savannah locations and another location in Atlanta, Georgia. We dined at the flagship location and enjoyed southern comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, butter beans, turkey wings, fried chicken, corn beef hash, cabbage, corn bread, and the best string beans we've ever tasted.
After enjoying a great meal, it was time for Secret Santa where we all exchanged gifts by playing the game "White Elephant." In the game, each player gets to choose a gift but can also choose to take another persons gifts. Overall, it was obvious that our gift giving was more about entertaining each other than receiving!
Following a night of gift exchanging and memory making, breakfast was the first thing on our Day Two Agenda. We ate a hearty breakfast at Henry's Diner to prepare for the "Footprints of Savannah" tour, a walking tour that highlights Savannah's antebellum years and it's involvement in the slavery and cotton industries.
Our tour was led by the well informed Sister V(Vaughnette Goode-Walker). Sister V started our tour in one of Savannah's most notable squares, Johnson Square. During her tour, we learned how the slave and cotton industry fueled Savannah's banking industry and about educational pioneers like Susie King Taylor. Mentors and mentees enjoyed engaging with Sister V as they asked questions that she was well prepared to answer.
Ralph Mark Gilbert was a leader in the Savannah civil rights movement and he chartered 20 National Association for the Advance of Colored People (NAACP) organizations. Gilbert forged such a rich legacy that Savannah built the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. Being that Savannah is home to one of Georgia's largest African American community, it's civil rights history is monumental. Thus, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum highlights Savannah's pivotal role in the civil rights movement, the African American community, slavery, and current triumphs .
As director of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Museum, Sister V also led us on a guided tour at the museum. Sister V successfully gave a interesting and interactive tour. Mentors and mentees had the chance to experience being denied service at a lunch counter during the peak of the civil rights movement and also consider what entities and ideals they would protest in today's society.
Our retreat was full of laughs, knowledge exchange, enlightnement, and sisterly bonding. Thank you to all of our supporters and sponsors who helped make this possible.
By Laura Campbell
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